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The Workings of Kamma

KING AJATASATTU

Another good example is King Ajatasattu. We shall mention him many times in the course of our explanations. He was the son of King Bimbisara, who was a Stream Enterer, and great patron of The Buddha and Sangha. In order to become king, King Ajatasattu had his father killed. Then, one night, he went to see The Buddha, and The Buddha gave him the great teaching that is the ‘Samanna·Phala’ sutta.392 The king had all the right conditions for attaining Stream Entry like his father. But because he had failed to practise conduct(Carana) earlier in his life, he had had his father killed. Killing one’s father is one of the weighty, un inter­venable kammas: the result is inescapable rebirth in hell in the next Iife.393 So, King Ajatasattu was unable to attain a Path& Fruition, and remained a common person(puthu-jjana).

BORN IN AN UNSUITABLE PLACE

Another example is people who have not been born in what The Buddha calls a suitable place(Patirupa·desa): that is, people born in a country where there is no Buddha’s Dispensation(Buddha·Sasana).394 For example, now in the Sangha, there are a growing number of bhikkhus from North America and Northern Europe. There are also a growing number of laypeople from those countries who gain faith in The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. But it is very often difficult for them to accept The Buddha’s Teachings: that is perhaps because of insufficient practice of knowledge(vijja) in the past and present. It is very often also difficult for them to encounter the True Dhamma(Saddhamma): that is perhaps because of insuffi­dent practice of conduct(Carana) in the past and present: it is difficult to say for sure. When you discern dependent origination, you will be able to understand the workings of such kamma properly.

That concludes our explanation of unwholesome and wholesome kamma. Next, we shall discuss the twelve categories of kamma(dva·dasa kamma).

THE TWELVE CATEGORIES OF KAMMA

The twelve categories of kamma are three sets of four:395

· Four categories for when kamma takes effect: time of effect.

· Four categories for which type of kamma takes effect first: order of effect.

· Four categories for how kamma functions: function of effect.

392 D.i.2 ‘Samanna-PhaIa-Suttam'(‘The Asceticism-Fruit Sutta’) 393 See ‘Unwholesome Weighty Kamma’, p.l68ff.

394 To reside where there is a Buddha’s Dispensation is the fourth blessing listed by The Buddha in SuN.ii.4’Manga/a-Suttam'(‘The Blessing Sutta’): ‘In a suitable place to reside (patirupa·desa·vasa). ‘

395 These twelve categories are given in the VsM .xix.685-687 ‘Kankha- V”dD/O(Ia- V”JSUddhi­-Nb’desl:1′(‘Exposition of the Doubt-Transcendence Purification’) PP.xix.14-16, and expla­ined, for example, at AA/AT.III.I.iv.4Widii”na-Suttam'(‘The Causation Sutta’ quoted end­note 237, p.252), and PaD. A fourth set of four is given in AbS.v.53 ‘Kamma-Catukkam’ (‘The Kamma Tetrad’) CMA.v.21: place of effect, where and how kamma produces its re­sult. 1) unwholesome kamma (which takes effect only on the sensual-/fine-material plane); 2)sensual-sphere wholesome kamma; 3) fine-material sphere wholesome kamma; 4) imma­terial-sphere wholesome kamma.

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The Buddha explains kamma according to these twelve categories.396 We shall now explain them one by one.

TIME OF EFFECT

The first four categories of kamma are according to when kamma takes effect:397/188

1) Presently-effective kamma(ditfha’dhamma’vedaniya’kamma): it takes effect in the same individual existence(atta·bhava).

2) SUbsequently-effective kamma(~jja’vedaniya-kamma): it takes effect in the very next existence.

3) Indefinitely-effective kamma(~,.a.£Wn’ya-vedaniya-kamma): it takes effect in some existence after the next one.

4) Lapsed kamma(aho.!i·kamma): it fails to take effect. It is is presently- or sub­sequently-effective kamma that is defunct, kamma only by name. After one’s Parinibbiina (final cessation), it includes also indefinitely-effective kammas, because after one’s Parinibbiina, no kammas take effect anymore.

Before we continue, please remember that within a snap of the fingers, very many thousand million consdousnesses arise and perish: they include many thousand million mental processes(dtta·vilhi).398 Most of them are mind-door proc­esses: many thousand million mind-door processes arising and perishing like a river in full flow. In our world (the sensual world), usually a mind-door process includes seven impulsion consdousnesses(.,wvana).399 If the impulsion consdous­nes5 is unwholesome(aku.!Os), it will comprise minimum sixteen mental phenom­ena(nama-dhamma) and maximum twenty-two; if the impulsion consciousness is wholesome(ku.sala), it will comprise minimum thirty-two mental phenomena, maximum thirty-five.400 In all cases, one of those mental phenomena is volition (cetana), and it is volition that forms kamma.401 Thus, whenever an unwholesome or wholesome kamma is accomplished, we may say that the series of seven impulsion consciousnesses with kamma-forming volition arises billions of times.

396 Time of Effect: discussed just below; Order of Effect: disaJssed p.l68ff; Function of Effect: disQJssed p.l84ff.

397 VsM .xix.685 (and VsMD ~nkha- Vilam(7a-Ir5″Uddhi-Nb’desl:1′ (‘Exposition of the Doubt­Transcendence Purification) PP.xix.14, and AbS.v.52 ~mma-Cat:ukkan’1′(‘The Kamma Tet­rad’) CMA.v.20. For the literal translation of the Pali terms, see subsequent endnote 188, p.248.

398 For an estimated number, see footnote 101, p.39. The continuity of consciousnesses is made up of countless life-mntinuum consciousnesses interrupted by set series of consd­ousnesses called mental processes.

399 See footnote 102, p.39.

400 mental phenomena of unwholesome impulsion consciousnesses: see tables 2AJ/2b/2c, p.46ff; of wholesome sensual-realm impulsion consciousnesses: see tables 3a13b, p.65ff. 401 But not all volition produces kamma: see footnote 104, p.39.

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Notes for Table Sb ‘The Five-Door Process’

· The material object that is cognized by a five-door process lasts 17 conscious­ness moments.

· One consciousness lasts one consdousness moment(dtta’kkha!lB), with three stages: arising(~)t, standing(thiti) I, dissolution(~)J,.

· Before and after a mental process, arises a number of life-continuum con­sdousnesses (see footnote 305, p.l05).

· All five-door processes (eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body door) follow the same procedure, according to the natural law of the mind(dtta·n~ma). Thus, the five­door process only ‘picks up’ the object (the eye-door process only cognizes that there is colour), does not yet ‘know’ the object (colour). The ‘knowing’ takes place at the fourth and subsequent mental processes (See table ‘The Mind-Door Process’, p.146). The volition of the impulsion consdousnesses is here only weak, which means the kamma can produce a result only in a future life’s continuanceO>avatti):it cannot produce a rebirth-linking consciousness (pafisandhi·dtta).

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* For the mental phenomena of the consciousnesses with unwholesome roots, see tables, p.46ff, and the wholesome roots, tables p.65ff.

* The mental factors of the sensual-sphere beautiful resultant consciousness correspond to the mental factors of the wholesome sensual-sphere impulsion, excluding the iIIimitables and abstinences: see previous column ‘Impulsion’ under Wholesome’.

).. The five-door-, eye-, receiving-, investigating-, and determining consdousness is unrooted(ahetuka), and never associated with desire(dlanda).

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III – The Workings of Kamma Notes for Table 5c ‘llIe Mind-Door Process’

· One consciousness lasts one consdousness moment(dtta’kkha!lB), with three stages: arising(~)t, standing(thiti) I, dissolution{77haliga) .1,.

· Before and after a mental process, arises a number of life-continuum consci­ousnesses.402

· Before this type of mind-door process, there is a five-door process or other mind-door process.403

· Cognition follows a fixed procedure, according to the natural law of the mind (dtta·niyama). For example, visual cognition:

1) Eye-door process that ‘picks-up’ the object; cognizes colour. (See above table ‘5b: The Five-Door Process’, p.l44.)

2) Mind-door process that perceives the colour; knows the past colour, the object of the eye-door process.

3) Mind-door process that knows which colour it is; knows the colour’s name.

4) Mind-door process that knows the object’s ‘meaning’; sees the whole image, a concept determined by past experience (perception(.saiii’iall.

5) Mind-door process that judges and feels. This is the beginning of true cognition. In the preceding mental processes, the volition of the impulsions is only weak, which means the kamma can produce a result only in that life’s continuance{J~vatti): it cannot produce a rebirth-linking consciousness (pafisandhi·dtta).

It is from the fifth mind-door process onwards that the concept is known: ‘a man’, ‘a woman’, ‘a pot’, ‘a sarong’, ‘gold’, ‘silver’ etc. And it is from that mental process onwards that there is mental proliferation(papaii”£o), and the accomplish­ment of kamma: accomplished by the mental factor volition (relana) of each impul­sion consciousness, which takes the same object.

With wise attention(yrmisl:> rnanasi<iira), wholesome kamma is accomplished with, for example, respect for and worship of one’s teacher, a Buddha-statue or a bhikkhu; knowing one’s samatha meditation subject, and with insight knowledge seeing formations as impermanence(aniaD), suffering(cWkkha), and non-self(an·atta).

With unwise attention(ayrmi.st1 manasi<iira), unwholesome kamma is accomplished when one sees self, husband, wife, children, property, etc. as existing according to reality: as permanence(niaD), happiness(sukha), and self(atta). With this same object and perception arise countless mental processes (mental formationS(.saIi­kMrall, reinforcing the cognition, until again the mind adverts to a new object.404

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402 Life-allllinuum consciousness: for details, see footnote 305, p.105, and table ‘Sa:

Death and Rebirth’, p.50.

403 This mind-iloor process is five-iloor post-posilionaliPaffal-oWl’oiw·bandJat<i). A mind-iloor process that arises independently of a five-iloor process is singly OCQJrring(visuJi1·s.tMM). 404 For details on the volition of the seven impulsions, see following disaJssion of pres­ently-, subsequently-, and indefinitely-effed:ive kamma.

148 The Workings of Kamma

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* For the mental phenomena of the unwholesome impulsions, see tables 2a/2b/ 2c, p.46ff, of the sensual-sphere wholesome, tables 3a/3b, p.65ff, the fine­material /immaterial sphere, table 3c, p.83ff, and the supramundane, table 3d, p.331.

* The mental factors of the sensual-sphere beautiful resultant consciousness correspond to the mental factors of the wholesome sensual-sphere impulsion, excluding the illimitables and abstinences: see previous column ‘Impulsion’ under ‘Wholesome’ .

).. The feeling(vet:Bna) (one of the seven universals) assodated with the mind-door adverting consdousness is equanimity(~): hence it cannot be associated with joy(piIi). The mind-door adverting consdousness is furthermore an unrooted consciousness(ahetuka·dtta), and they are never associated with desire(d7anda).

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The first category of kamma is presently-effective kamma(diflha-dhamma·vetfaniya­·kamma). It is the unwholesome(akusala) or wholesome(kusala) volition of the first of the seven impulsions in the fifth mental process onwards.405

During just one particular kamma, there arise and perish many billion volitions of these first impul­sions. Those that meet the right conditions produce their result in the same con­tinuity of mentality-materiality(alta’bhava nama-rupa), the present life.

Any kamma may produce such presently-effective results. The pleasant, unplea­sant, and neutral resultant feelings that arise before, during or after a certain kamma may be the result of presently-effective kamma. For example, the happi­ness that arises in connection with an offering(dana), or with training in morality (sila) or meditation(bhavana), etc.: we cannot say for sure. Only by discerning de­pendent origination can one be sure. For sure, however, is the consciousness that arises after a Path Consciousnesses{M~·Otta). It is presently-effective kamma, because its result arises in the next mind moment as the Fruition Con­sciousness(PhaIa·Citta).406

At the end of the present life, all the presently-effective kammas that have not matured become lapsed kamma(ahast·kamma).407

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SUBSEQUENTLY-EFFECTIVE KAMMA

The second category of kamma is subsequently-effective kamma(upapajja·vet:B­niya-kamma). It is the unwholesome or wholesome volition of the seventh of the seven impulsions in the fifth mental proc­ess onwards.408 It is called the impulsion that ‘the aim accomplishes’ (attha·.s;Whaka), because as the last of the series of seven identical impulsions, it completes the action. This impulsion accomplishes one’s aim to break or keep the precepts, to make offerings, to meditate etc. The repetition of the previous six impulsions~vana) reinforces this seventh impulsion, so the kamma acquires suffident strength to be kamma proper, subsequently­effective kamma that produces a result.

During just one particular kamma, there arise and perish many billion volitions of these seventh impulsions. Those that meet the right conditions produce their result in the next life.

Let us say, for example, one has accomplished one of the unwholesome weighty kammas(~1lIka·kamma). They are called unintervenable kamma(an·antanya-kamma),409 because one is certain to be reborn in hell in one’s subsequent life. When one accomplished that kamma, there arose and perished many billion volitions of the seventh impulsions: they were certain to become subsequently-effective kammas.

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405 See table ‘5c: The Mind-Door Process’ and notes, p.l46f. 406 Path Knowledge: see table ‘5e: The Path Process’, p.336.

407 Presently-€ffectjve kamma is disaJssed further at ‘Conditions for Present Resulf, p.155. 408 See table ‘5c: The Mind-Door Process’ and notes, p.l46f.

409 unintervenable kamma(iin’anta~ kal1l/1il): see ‘Unwholesome Weighty Kamma’, p.l68.

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But, of those many billion seventh impulsions, only one produces the five aggre­gates in hell, no more. The remaining volitions of those seventh impulsions may, however, support one’s five aggregates in hell. They become subsequently­effective kamma that makes one’s suffering’s in hell even greater. And they pro­long one’s life and sufferings in hell. Then, at the end of that life, the remaining subsequently-effective kammas become lapsed kamma. The same principle ap­plies for the seventh volitions of lesser unwholesome kammas that produce re­birth in hell, the animal world or the ghost world.

Let us then say one has accomplished one of the wholesome weighty kammas: one of the eight jhanas.410 All the impulsions of a jhana attainment are the same: there are no first, middle five or seventh impulsion: they can all function in any way. But only one volition of that kamma’s impulsions produces the five aggre­gates in the Brahma world, no more. The remaining volitions of those impulsions may, however, support one’s five aggregates in the Brahma world.

With the attainment of the Stream-Entry and Once-Return Paths, all subsequent­ly-effective kammas lapse in their capadty to produce rebirth in a woeful state. With the attainment of the Non-Return Path, all subsequently-effective kammas lapse in their capacity to produce their result in the sensual world. Of course, with the attainment of the Arahant Path, there will be no subsequent life: at the end of that life (at one’s Parinibbiina: final cessation), absolutely all subsequently­effective kammas lapse in every capacity.

As long as subsequently-effective kamma has not produced its result, its potency can produce an effect at any time in one’s subsequent continuity of mentality­materiality: it can produce its result at any time in one’s next Iife.411 So long as the kamma meets the right conditions, no one, not even a Buddha or other Arahant, avoids experiencing the results of subsequently-effective kamma from their pre­vious Iife.412

At the end of the subsequent life, all the subsequently-effective kammas from the previous life that have not matured become lapsed kamma(ahosi’kamma}.

THE VENERABLE DEVADATTA

A good example of subsequently-effective kamma is the Venerable Devadatta, The Buddha’s cousin. We shall mention him many times in the course of our ex­planations. He accomplished two unwholesome weighty kammas.413/189 First, he pushed a large rock off a cliff, with the intention that it should hit The Buddha and kill Him. But the rock hit the ground and split into pieces. One piece struck

410 The eight jhanas are the four material jhanas, and four immaterial jhanas. See ‘Whole­some Weighty Kamma’, p.173.

411 This does not mean, however, that there is a ‘stDre’ of subsequently-€ffeclive kamma whid1 ‘underlies’ one’s mentality-materiality. See footnote 56, p.15.

412 Certain kamma of one life may be unable to produce its result because, at the time of death, an earlier kamma produces rebirth in a world where the kamma is unable to pro­duce its result. For example, offering, morality, and meditation of one life may be unable to produce its result in the next life because an earlier kamma has produced rebirth in a woeful state. See quotation, endnote 206, p.250, and ‘Achievement and Failure’, p.207.

413 His entire career, from the time he ordained as a bhikkhu till his death and subsequent rebirth in the great Unremitting Hell(Avb),is explained in Vin.Cv.vii’Safhgha-Bhedaka-Kkhan­dlakali1′(‘Sangha-Sd1ismatic Division’), and DhPA.i.12 27eledatta-li!Itthu'(‘The Case of Devadatta’). He is disaJssed also p.175, p.192, and p.202.

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The Buddha’s foot. Although the skin was unbroken, there was a serious bruise because of bleeding within The Buddha’s foot. Thus the Venerable Devadatta

had with evil intent drawn the blood of a Buddha.414/190 Second, he made a schism in the Sangha: that was the weightier of the two kammas. One of the seventh impulsions of his ‘schism kamma’ produced his five aggregates in the great Unremitting Hell(AviO). No other seventh impulsion of that kamma would produce rebirth in hell. But his sufferings in hell are intensified, maintained, and prolonged by other seventh impulsions of that kamma, as well as by the seventh impulsions of his kamma of having with evil intent drawn the blood of a Buddha. And, of course, while he is in hell, there will also be indefinitely-effective kammas from the infinite past which will also intensify, maintain, and prolong his sufferings in hell. But, as we explained in connection with the ‘Gaddula’Baddha’sutta, when the world system is destroyed, he will escape, and be reborn in the human world. And the Pali Texts explain that a hundred thousand aeons later, he will attain Arahantship as a Paccekabuddha called AWlissara.415

INDEFINITELY-EFFECTIVE KAMMA

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The third category of kamma is indefinitely-effective kamma{apar~ya·vet:Bnijla-

·kamma). It is the un­wholesome or whole­some volition of the five middle impulsions:

the five impulsions between the first and the seventh.416

Again, during just one particular kamma, there arise and perish many billion voli­tions of these middle five impulsions. If, in some life after the subsequent life, one such impulsion meets the right conditions, it produces its result. It may, for exam­ple, produce the five aggregates at the rebirth-linking moment in some future life.

Now, as we explained earlier, of all the seventh impulsions of a kamma, only one is able to produce rebirth. But it is different with the middle five impulsions: indefinitely-effective kamma. Each one of them can produce a result. That is why, as explained above, one can owing to one particular kamma be reborn in hell again and again, or be reborn as an animal or ghost again and again, or be reborn as a human being or deva again and again.

With the attainment of the Stream-Entry and Once-Return Paths, all indefinitely­effective kammas lapse in their capadty to produce rebirth in a woeful state.

With the attainment of the Non-Return Path, all indefinitely-effective kammas lapse in their capacity to produce their result in the sensual world. Of course, with the attainment of the Arahant Path, there will be no more rebirth: at the

end of that last life (at one’s Parinibbana: final cessation), absolutely all indefi­nitely-effective kammas lapse in every capadty.

Otherwise, so long as indefinitely-effective kamma does not produce its result, it can take effect at any time in one’s mentality-materiality continuity: it can pro-

414 In Ap.XXXIX.x.78-79 ‘Pub/Ja·Kamma·Pi/ot/ka·Buddha-Apadanam'(‘Tatters of Previous Kamma Buddha-Narrative’), The Buddha explains that He suffered this attack because in a past life, He for the sake of wealth threw a step-brother into a ravine, and then crushed him with a rock.

415 DhPA.i.7 ‘Devadaf:t1·lietthu’ (‘The Case of Devadatta’)

416 See table ‘5c: The Mind-Door Process’ and notes, p.l46f.

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duce its result in any future life after the next one.417 However long one’s running on from life to life, this kamma lapses only at one’s Parinibbana (final cessation). Before the attainment of Parinibbana, no one (not even a Buddha) avoids experi­encing the results of indefinitely-effective kamma from past lives.

LAPSED KAMMA

The fourth category of kamma is lapsed kamma(aho.!i·kamma). It does not desig­nate a special class of kamma: it is simply kamma that has not met the conditions to produce its result: it is defunct, kamma only by name. For non-Arahants, it is simply presently-effective kamma of the present life, and subsequently-effective kamma of the preceding life, that at one’s death have not met the right conditions to produce its result. At the Arahant’s Parinibbiina, it is all three types of kamma. At the Arahant’s Parinibbiina, the innumerable unwholesome and wholesome kammas that she or he accomplished throughout the infinite past, which might have matured in the subsequent life or any time later, become every one of them lapsed kamma(aho.!i·kamma).191 That is why The Buddha says:418

Consumed is tfIe old, there is no new existence; With disimpassioned mind for future exisblnee, They the seed mnsumed [have] no growth-desire:

Sbladfast, tfley expire as tfIis lamp.419

Now, before we continue discussing the workings of kamma, we need to recall what we discussed earlier about the mind: we need to remember the workings of kamma according to ultimate truth.

UNCOUNTA8LE KAMMAS

The Buddha explains that when the mind is alert, then within a snap of the fin­gers, very many thousand million consciousnesses arise and perish like a river in full flow: they arise as series, many thousand million mental processes(dtta·vilhlj.420 Human beings exist on what we call the sensual-sphere plane(kam’8va£D/O bhOmlj.

The sensual-sphere plane comprises the hells, the ghost and demon worlds, the

417 This does not mean, however, that there is a ‘stDre’ of indefinitely-€ffeclive kamma whid1 ‘underlies’ one’s mentality-materiality. See footnote 56, p.15.

418 5uN.ii.1 ‘RafDna-Suttafh'(‘The JeweI5utta’) (also KhP.v.6)

419 The commentary to the sutta explains that even though past kamma has arisen and ceased, that kamma is still capable of conveying a rebirth-link, because in ordinary beings, the moisture of craving(/iJQM·sineha) is unabandoned. But in those for whom the moisture of craving has dried up because of the Arahant Path, that past kamma is incapable of giving any result in the future, like seeds burned up by fire. Any kamma they now perform is call­ed ‘new’,and is no more capable of giving a result in the future than a flower is capable of appearing on a plant that has been uprooted, whid1 means it is unable to give any result (‘there is no new kamma existence’). Kamma thus having been consumed, the seed of rebirth-linking has been consumed (and 5uNA quotes: ‘kamma is the field; consciousness the seed.’ See endnote 313, p.355). And because there is no longer the desire for ‘growth’ (for renewed existence) they expire like this lamp, and go beyond the range of concepts, sud1 as any ‘material or immaterial’. The lamp referred to is a lamp that expired as The Buddha had been speaking. See also the seed-simile mentioned in endnote 237, p.252.

420 For an estimated number, see footnote 101, p.39.

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human world, and the bottom five deva-worlds. The sensual-sphere plane is where the five material sense bases operate:421

1) When a sight base(rop·,jyatana) meets an eye base(cakkh·,jyalDna), there arises eye consciousness((Qkkhu·vi~).

2) When a sound base(sadd·,jyatana) meets an ear base(.st1MyalDna), there arises ear consciousness(.st1la·viiii’ia!lB).

3) When an odour base(gandh·,jyalDna) meets a nose base(ghan·,jyalDna), there arises nose consciousness(ghMa·viiiM!78).

4) When a flavour base(JaS·,jyalDna) meets a tongue base(jivh·,jyatana), there arises tongue consciousness(jivha·viiii’ia!78).

5) When a tangible base(phofthabb·,jyalDna) meets a body base(.l”ay·,jyatana), there arises body consdousness(kaya-viiiM!78).

These events take place by the mental process called a five-door process (paiica·dvara·vifhj).422 But there is also a sixth sense base, the mind base:

6) When a sight-, sound-, odour-, f1avour-, or tangible base, or base of other thingS(dhamm·,jyatana), meets the mind base(man·,jyatana), there arises mind consdousness(mano·viiiM!lB).

The mental processes by which these events take place are mind-door process­es.423 In each of those mental processes there are seven impulsion consciousness­es(javana). If the impulsion consciousness is unwholesome(akusala), it will comprise minimum sixteen mental phenomena(nal7B’dhaml7B) and maximum twenty-two; if the impulsion consciousness is wholesome(.(“usala), it will comprise minimum thirty­two mental phenomena, maximum thirty-five.424 In all cases, one of those mental phenomena is volition(ca’ana), and it is volition that forms kamma.425

What does this mean in practical terms? It means that during just one particular kamma,426 there arise and perish many billion volitions of the first impulsions, there arise and perish many billion volitions of the seventh impulsions, and there arise and perish many billion volitions of the middle five impulsions. In other words, during just one particular kamma, there arise and perish many billion voli­tions that can produce their result in this life (presently-effective kamma); there arise and perish also many billion volitions that can produce their result in the next life (subsequently-effective kamma); and there arise and perish also many billion volitions that can produce their result in some future life after that, even a life many aeons in the future (indefinitely-effective kamma).

This means that throughout one’s life, one accomplishes billions of unwhole­some or wholesome kammas, billions and billions of times. In fact, you may real­ize that in one life, the number of unwholesome or wholesome kammas that one accomplishes are without number. That is why, when The Buddha speaks of be­ings in hell, He speaks of their being tonnented for hundreds of years, many thou­sands of years, and many hundreds of tfIousands of years. 192 Take for example, a butcher who kills cows as her or his livelihood. Over maybe thirty, forty, or even

421 See e.g. M.III.V.6’07a·07akka·SuttaIi1′(‘The Six-Sixes Sutta’).

422 See table ‘Sb: The Five-Door Process’, p.l44.

423 See table ‘Sc: The Mind-Door Process’, p.l46.

424 mental phenomena of unwholesome impulsion consciousnesses: see tables 2AJ/2b/2c, p.46ff; of wholesome sensual-realm impulsion consciousnesses: see tables 3a13b, p.6Sff. 425 For details, see ‘The Workings of the Mind’, p.39.

426 For the principle of identity, see ‘The Principle of Identity’, p.201.

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fifty years, she or he kills cows. At each particular kamma, each time she or he kills a cow, the unwholesome kammas that are produced are uncountable. Uke­wise, the devotee who every day offers food to the Sangha. Maybe she or he does it for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, or more. Each time she or he makes an offering, at each particular kamma, the wholesome kammas that are produced are uncountable.

Even though human beings and devas exist in the sensual sphere, they can still accomplish kamma of the fine-material- and immaterial sphere. That is when a human being or deva enters into either a fine-material jhana or immaterial jhana. As mentioned earlier, such kamma cannot be unwholesome: only wholesome. The impulsion consdousnesses of jhana are called exalted(mahaggata).

When we accomplish sensual-sphere kamma, many billion consdousnesses arise and perish: they indude many thousand million mental processes(dtta­.vifhj).427 In each of those mental processes there are seven impulsion conscious­nesses(.,wvana). But the number of exalted impulsion consciousnesses that arise and perish when one is in jhana varies: there is no fixed number. It depends on how long one is in the attainment. 428 Maybe only some billion arise and perish, maybe very, very many billion. According to one’s determination, they may arise and perish in such numbers one after the other for an hour, for two hours, even for a whole day, or a whole week. When a beginner enters jhana, however, only one mental process of absorption with only one jhana impulsion-consdousness arises and perishes, after which one sinks back into the life-continuum.

Of the fine-material or immaterial jhanas that one has attained in one life, only the one that one has been able to maintain up to the near-death moment will produce rebirth in the Brahma world; the rest of one’s attainments are without result. If, however, one developed those attainments for the ultimate attainment of Nibbiina, they become what is called piirami.

We need also remember that the round of rebirth has no beginning. This means that everyone has accomplished countless unwholesome and wholesome kammas during lives that are also countless. But we need to remember that even though we have produced countless kammas over countless lives, not all of them will produce their result. As we have also discussed, not all the impulsions of a kamma produce their result. 429

The Pali Texts give many examples of how kamma works. And when we do not properly understand the workings of kamma, those examples may sometimes seem too fantastic to be true. But when we understand the workings of the mind, and thereby the workings of kamma, it becomes very easy to understand the extreme power of evil actions, and the supreme power of good actions. Then it becomes very difficult to disbelieve the examples of how kamma works. Then, for example, it becomes very easy for us to believe The Buddha, when He speaks of beings who enjoy sublime happiness in the deva worlds for very many hundred thousand years. 193

Of course, if we develop the power to discern many past lives, then do we see the workings of kamma for ourselves, and any sceptidsm we may have is dispel­led by our personal knowing and seeing.

427 For an estimated number, see footnote 101, p.39.

428 In the same wiI’/, the number of life-amlinuum consdousnesses varies.

429 VbhA.xvi.10.810 Vuti”je-Bakl-Nb’desl:1′(‘Exposition of the Second Power’) DD.xvi.2251­2254, and MA.II.iv.6I4JiguHm3/a-SuttaIi1′(‘The Arigulimala 5utta’).

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CONOITlONS FOR PRESENT RESULT

Here, we should like further to discuss presently-effective kamma. Under which conditions does presently-effective kamma produce its result, and under which conditions does it lapse? As mentioned earlier, presently-effective kamma is pro­duced by the volition of the first impulsion: it becomes effective when two condi­tions are met:430

1) It has met no opposition(pafipakkhehi anabhilJl1OlDliiya). that is, no stronger kamma has overpowered it.

2) It has met the right conditionsO>aaoya’~ papladdha·l/isesaliiya): that is, the producing kamma was of the type to produce such a result.

Even so, although it may meet the conditions necessary to mature, and although it supports associated formations in the impulsion continuity,431 it is the weakest of all the impulsions. This is because, being the first impulsion, it is alone. Unlike subsequently- and indefinitely-effective kamma, it has no preceding impulsions to give it power; it has not been reinforced by repetition(~vana). Its result is there­fore only weak, and the right conditions for it to mature are not found beyond the present life. Uke a mere flower, it matures only in this life: just as the flower does not produce a fruit, so does this type of kamma not produce a future re­birth. By contrast, subsequently- and indefinitely-effective kamma gain power from repetition. That means they can produce their results either in the next life or in some subsequent life, and they have the power to produce rebirth even in the hells or the deva worlds.

Furthermore, for kamma to produce its result, it needs to meet what is called achievement(.sampatti)and failure(vipalt1).432 If they are not met, it lapses.

PRESENT REsULT FROM WHOLESOME KAMMA

Take, for example, the wholesome kamma of offering (cmna). It can become presently-effective kamma that produces material wealth in this life. 194 But there are four things that need to be fulfilled, four types of achievement(.sampada) :433

430 This and the following details have been taken from VsMT.685~nkha-Vita”‘(7a-Vi­suOO’hi-Nb’desl:1′(‘Exposilion of the Doubt-Transcendence Purification’).

431 support associated formations in the impulsion continuity: kamma is volition, and voli­tion is a mental factDr(retasi.li1). A mental faclDr cannot arise independently of a conscious­ness(ciIta), and a consciousness cannot arise independently of mental factors. And the for­mations necessary for a consciousness to arise are eight: the consciousness, and the seven universal mental factors(sabba-ofta·s8dMmlJi1) (There may be more mental factors, but these seven are the minimum.): 1) contactjj1/1a.s:x1), 2) feeling(lIt\1ana), 3) perception(.x1ff1i”a), 4) voIi­tion(refana),5) one-pointedness(ek’aggaIii),6) life faOJlty(jMt-indriya),7) attention(manastim). In one consciousness moment, the consciousness and its mental factors support each other, as mutuality cause(affli”am-aiifia paaaya): they arise together, cease together, take the same object, and have the same basis (in the material worlds either the eye-, ear-, nose-, tDn­gue-, body-, or heart base; in the immaterial world no base). That is why they are called ‘associated formations'(sampayutta.tJhamma). In the same way, if one of the constituent men­tal factors is absent, the remaining mental facIDrs cannot arise either, whid1 means the consciousness cannot arise. For details, see the tables for ‘The Accomplishment of Kamma’ under ‘Tables’, p.v.

432 These are eight: deslinalion-, appearance-, time-, and means ad1ievement/failure. They are explained at ‘Ad1ievement and Failure’, p.207 ff.

433 DhPA.X.17 ‘Sukha-sama(len1-Vatthu'(‘The Case of the Happy Novice’). See also exam­(fIt- •••• {wt1/u1< -pag<.)

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1) Object achievement(vatthu·.!Qm.£Wd8}: the object of one’s offering (the receiver) must be an Arahant or Non-Returner who is able to enter the cessation­attainment(nirodha·.!Qma.£Wtti}: the temporary cessation of mentality and con­sciousness-born materiality. 434

2) Requisite achievement(J~aaya·.!Qm.£Wd8}: the requisite that is offered must have been obtained in accordance with the Dhamma: according to Right Speech(&mma·V8Gj}, Right Action(Samma·Kammanl1J}, and Right Uvelihood (Samma·~Tva).

3) Volition achievement(relana·.!QnpatB”}: the offerer’s volition must be taintless.

She or he must have a happy mind before offering, while offering and after offering, untainted by attachment or anger, etc. expecting nothing in return from the receiver.

4) Extra-factor achievement(g~·8ti!l1ka·.sampada}: the receiver must be an Ara­hant435 or Non-Returner who has just emerged from the cessation attain­ment(nirodha·.!QtnBpatti}.

If these four types of achievement are present, the volition of the first impul­sion consciousness associated with the offering may function as presently-eff­ective kamma. But these four factors alone are not sufficient: the offerer needs also have accomplished sufficient wholesome kamma in past lives, that is, the practice of conduct(£D/O!lB}.436 Especially, the offerer needs in past lives to have made superior offerings: we discussed such offerings earlier.437

What makes an offering superiOr(ukkatthaJ? The Buddha explains that five things need to be fulfilled:438

1) The offerer must be virtuous, one who observes morality(s7a}, who observes the precepts: abstinence from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, drinking beer and wine, etc., and taking other intoxicants.

2) The gift must have been obtained in accordance with the Dhamma: accord­ing to Right Speech (&nrna· V8Gj}, Right Adion(&mma’Kammanta} and Right Uvelihood(Samma·~Tva}.

3) The offerer must have a taintless and happy mind before offering, while of­fering and after offering, untainted by attachment or anger, etc., expecting nothing in return from the receiver.

4) The offerer must have full faith in the law of kamma and its result. 439

5) The receiver must also be virtuous, someone who observes the precepts. If the receiver’s virtue is accompanied by jhana, insight knowledge or a Path& Fruition knowledge, that makes the offering even more superior.

pie at endnote 195, p.248.

434 cessation attainment: it can last up to seven days, depending on the meditator’s de­termination. For details, see 5.IV.vii.6 ‘Dutiya KamabhiJ·SUf:t1fh'(‘The Second KiimabhO Sutta’), 5.III.II.ii.1 ‘Rahoga(;J·Suttafh'(‘The 501itude 5utta’), and VsM.xxiii.879 ‘Nirodha·Sam­8,mtti’Katha'(‘DisaJssion of the Cessation-Attainmenf) PP.xxiii.43.

435 This indudes all Buddhas, since they too are Arahants.

436 See ‘Conduct’, p.136.

437 See ‘2) The 5uperior Offering’, p.68.

438 M.III.iV.12 ‘Dakkhi(13·Vibhariga·Suttafh'(‘The Gift-Analysis 5utta’) 439 This makes the offering triple-rooted.

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THE FIELD DF GDLD

The Pali Texts give an example of an offering that took present effect, in the same life: the offering of one Pul)l)a, father of Uttara-Nandamata from Rajagaha. The event took place in our Buddha’s time:44O

Pul)l)a and his wife were poor people with deep faith in the Venerable 5ariputta.

One festival day, even though PUl)l)a’s employer had given him the day off, PUl)l)a went out to plough, because he was too poor to take a holiday.

That day, the Venerable 5ariputta emerged from the cessation attainment{niro­rJha·sam3patli). And he reviewed the world with his divine eye to see who would benefit most from offering him alms. He saw that PUl)l)a had such accomplished wholesome kamma from a past life, that if he offered alms to the Venerable 5ariputta, that past kamma would function as a dedsive supporting cause(~ nissaya-paaaya) for the offering to produce a result in this life: Pul)l)a would be­come a rich man, and then make a big offering to The Buddha and Sangha. After listening to The Buddha’s inspirational talk he and his wife would also become Stream Enterers.

So, at the suitable time, the Venerable 5ariputta took his bowl and double robe, and went to where PUl)l)a was ploughing. And then he stood at a small distance so Pul)l)a could see him. When Pul)l)a saw him, he became very happy, stopped ploughing, approached the Venerable 5ariputta, and with respect and happiness made the fivefold obeisance. Then the Venerable 5ariputta asked him where some good water might be had. PUl)l)a thought the venerable one wanted to wash his face,441 so he made a tooth stick out of a creeper nearby, and offered it to the Venerable 5ariputta. While the Venerable 5ariputta was brushing his teeth, Pul)l)a took his bowl and water-strainer, and filled the bowl with fresh, properly strained, clear water, which he then offered to the Venerable 5ariputta.

After washing his face, the Venerable 5ariputta went on his way for alms. Then it occurred to Pul)l)a: ‘The Venerable One never came this way before. He prob­ably came today for my benefit. If my wife had come with my food, how good it would have been to offer it to the Venerable One!’

At that time, Pul)l)a’s wife was on her way with her husband’s food, and met the Venerable 5ariputta. She thought: ‘Sometimes we have had alms to offer, but there has been no receiver; sometimes there has been a receiver, but owing to our poverty we have had no alms to offer. How fortunate I am now that I have this Venerable One as the receiver, and this food to offer!’442 So with much happiness, she offered the food to the Venerable 5ariputta. Then she went home again, prepared fresh food again, and took it to her husband. He was overjoyed to hear of her offering to the Venerable 5ariputta. He took his meal and then had a nap.

When he woke up, he saw the field he had ploughed had turned into gold. Then he reported the matter to the king, who sent carts to collect the gold. But as soon as his men touched the gold, saying it was for the king, it turned back into earth. So the gold was collected in Pul)l)a’s name, and the king conferred on him the title of Bahu·Dhana·Setfhi(lIJrd of Much Wealth). Pul)l)a built a new house,

440 AA.I.xN.7’lJttZJra-Nanda-Mafij-Vatthu'(‘The Case of uttara, Nanda’s MDlhe~) 441 This is sometimes a Pali equivalent to the English euphemism ‘ablutions’.

442 In the past, the Dbject achievement was absent, Dr the requisite ad1ievement: now all four achievements were present.

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and as the house-wanning, he held a great alms-offering for The Buddha and Sangha. And with The Buddha’s inspirational talk, 443 PUl)l)a and his wife and daughter Uttara became Stream Enterers(.sot·A.tanna).

Here,

1) Pul)l)a and his wife were virtuous.

2) Their offerings had been obtained in accordance with the Dhamma.

3) They had clear, taintless and happy minds before, during and after their of-

fering.

4) They had strong faith in the law of kamma and its result. And,

5) The receiver (the Venerable Siiriputta) was an Arahant who had just emerged from the cessation attainment(nirodha·.!a’778patti). His virtue was per­fect, his jhana attainments were perfect, and his insight knowledge was per­fect, for he had attained the Arahant Path&Fruition knowledges.

The decisive factor, however, was that Pul)l)a and his wife had in a past life ac­complished a superior wholesome kamma that now matured to support their pre­sent offering to the Venerable Siiriputta: that past kamma was the decisive sup­porting aJuse(u.tanissaya-paaaya). Owing to the presence of the right conditions, the volition of the first impulsion of Pul)l)a’s mind-door process while offering to the Venerable Siiriputta produced a great result in that very life. This was presently­effective kamma(diffha·dhamma·vedaniya·kamma).I95

Now, we may find it difficult to believe this story; the present result of Pul)l)a’s kamma seems too fantastic to be true. But the result was in fact not fantastic. If we compare it with the result that could have matured as subsequently-effective kamma(~.tajja·vedanlya-kamma): as kamma experienced upon rebirth (a result of the volition in the seventh impulsion), the presently-effective kamma was in fact only a paltry result. Why? Because if PUl)l)a’s offering matured at his time of death(ma/O!lB’kale), it would produce rebirth in the deva-world, with the most su­perior deva pleasures and the long, long life span of a deva:444 a field of gold bringing wealth to a human being, with a human being’s only short life span, bears no comparison. PUl)l)a’s offering could also mature as indefinitely-effective kamma(a.taJa.tan’ya-vedaniya·kamma): as kamma experienced in some subsequent life, a result of the volition in the middle five impulsions. In that case, it would produce sublime results in very, very many succeeding future lives. Again, the field of gold that he gained as a human being bears no comparison.

All these powerful results could arise because he had accomplished billions of wholesome kammas before, during, and after making his offering to the Vener­able Siiriputta. Please remember the workings of the mind. On our plane, the sensual-sphere plane(kam’iivaca/O’bhOni), within a snap of the fingers, very many thousand million consciousnesses arise and perish: they include many thousand million mental processes(dtta·vilhi).445 In each of those mental processes there are

443 inspirational talk: a talk given after an offering, sudl as is the case here, is in Pali called an anumodana talk: modana means rejoicing; anu means repeatedly. An anu·modana talk is thus a talk intended to inspire the minds of the offerers with repeated rejoicing, thereby increasing the good kamma and merit of their action, and making it more memorable.

444 For The Buddha’s explanation of the life spans of devas, see endnote 193, p.248.

445 For an estimated number, see footnote 101, p.39.

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seven impulsion consciousnesses(.,wvana).446 Each of those impulsion conscious­nesses is assodated with volition: it produces kamma. If you remember this, you may understand how Pul)l)a could have accomplished so many wholesome kam­mas, and the story becomes easy to understand. 196

PRESENT REsULT FROM UNWHOLESOME KAMMA

THE VENERABLE ANGULIMALA

Presently-effective kamma can also be unwholesome. There is, for example, Arigulimala.447 He was a bandit in the kingdom of King Pasenadi of Kasala. He killed very many people. Then, one day, The Buddha saw with His divine eye that Arigulimala would on that day either kill his own mother, or, if The Buddha went to see him, he would ordain as a bhikkhu. And seeing that Arigulimiila had suffi­dent parami to become an Arahant in that very life, The Buddha went to see him. Arigulimala ordained, and undertook the bhikkhu’s threefold higher training: the higher morality training (observing the bhikkhu’s Patimokkha), higher mind train­ing (samatha meditation), and higher wisdom training (insight meditation).

At that time, King Pasenadi was trying to catch Arigulimiila. But when he saw Arigulimala had become a peaceful bhikkhu with The Buddha as his teacher, King Pasenadi promised the Venerable Arigulimiila to proVide him with the four requi­sites: robes, food, dwelling, and medicine. The Venerable Arigulimala’s ordination under The Buddha was the presently-effective kamma that gave this result.

Later, under The Buddha’s instruction, the Venerable Arigulimala attained Ara­hantship. The next day, when he went to savatthi on his almsround, people at­tacked him. They could remember what he had done as the bandit Arigulimiila, and one threw a stone, another threw a stick, and another threw a potsherd. And the Venerable Arigulimiila returned to The Buddha with his head bleeding, his bowl broken, and his outer robe torn. When The Buddha saw it, He said to Arigulimala:

Bear it” Brahmin! Bear it Bl1Ihmin!

You are experiencing here and now tfIe result of deeds owing lD which you might have been lDrtured for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many tfIousands of years!

The Buddha was here explaining to him that the attack was the present result of Arigulimiila’s evil kamma in the present life. If that kamma had produced its result as subsequently-effective, or indefinitely-effective kamma, he would in­stead have been reborn in hell, and would have suffered for very many thou­sands of years. But because he had attained Arahantship, his past evil kamma lapsed as subsequently- and indefinitely-effective kamma: it could take effect only in this life as attacks from people.

THE CATTLE BUTCHER

Another example of presently-effective unwholesome kamma is the case of a cattle butcher in savatthi.448 He would kill cows, select the best cuts for himself and his family, and then sell the rest. Killing cows was his livelihood for fifty-five years. And he would never eat rice unless he had beef to go with it.

446 The Most Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw is here referring only lD sensual-sphere mental processes: see footnote 102, p.39.

447 M.II.iV.6I4JiguHm3s-SuttaIi1′(‘The Arigulimala Sutta’) 448 DhPA.xviii.l-4 ‘Mas- I/i1gga’ (‘Stain Chapter’)

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One day, while it was still light, after he had finished his day’s work, he gave his wife some beef to cook for his supper, and then went to the pond to bathe. In the meantime, a friend came to his house, and although the butcher’s wife protested, the friend took the piece of beef meant for the butcher’s supper.

When the butcher returned, and discovered that his dinner had gone, he took a knife, and went out to the back of his house, where a cow was tethered. The butcher put his hand into the cow’s mouth, pulled out the cow’s tongue, cut it off at the root, and went back inside. He had the cow’s tongue cooked on a bed of coals, placed it on the boiled rice, and sat down to eat. Rrst he took a mouthful of rice, and then a piece of meat. At that very moment, his own tongue was sev­ered at the root, and fell out of his mouth onto the dish of rice. Then, with blood streaming from his mouth, he went into the courtyard of his house, and crawled about on his hands and knees, bellowing just like an ox. His kamma of cutting out the cow’s tongue functioned as presently-effective kamma, and produced a present result of terrible pain and sorrow.

After he had crawled about for some time, bellowing like an ox, he died. Owing to his subsequently-effective kamma (he had killed cows for fifty-five years), he was reborn in the great Unremitting Hell(AviO). And he was destined to experience horrific sufferings in that great and terrible hell for a very, very long time because of uncountable other subsequently-effective unwholesome kammas, as well as uncountable indefinitely-effective unwholesome kammas that now met the right conditions to mature: the round of rebirth has no beginning, so every being has accomplished much evil kamma. When the conditions are right, that evil kamma from past lives matures, and one’s suffering is prolonged.

Sometimes, a being in hell reaches the end of the kamma that produced rebirth in hell, and he passes away in hell. But he does not escape from hell, because another indefinitely-effective kamma of that same kamma produces rebirth in hell again, and when he again passes away in hell, another indefinitely-effective kamma of that same kamma does it again, and so on.449 And even when he does escape from hell, and is reborn as a ghost, that same kamma functions as indefi­nitely-effective kamma, so that he as a ghost is tonnented in some similar way. 197

That concludes our discussion of kamma according to the time of effect (when it takes effect): presently-effective-, subsequently-effective-, indefinitely-effect­ive-, and lapsed kamma. But in order to get the whole picture, we need also to understand that these four types of kamma work over three periods: the past, the present, and the future.

THE WORKINGS OF KAMMA PAST – PRESENT – FUTURE

In one continuity of mentality-materiality, there is always past kamma, present kamma, and unless one attains Arahantship, there is also always future kamma. In the same way, there are past results of kamma, present results of kamma, and future results of kamma. According to result, we have thus six workings of past kamma, four workings of present kamma, and two workings of future kamma.

449 This is an example of how the kamma that produces the rebirth-linking consciousness may also be from another past life. See mention of The Buddha’s explanation, footnote 458, p.l68.

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161

THE SIx WORKINGS OF PAST KAMMA

The papsambhida·Magga,45O by the Venerable sariputta, describes the six work-

ings of past kamma(atila’kamma) :451

[1] There was lramma, there was lramma result.

[2] There was lramma, there was no lramma result. [3] There was lramma, there is lramma result.

[4] There was lramma, there is no lramma result.

[5] There was lramma, there will be lramma result. [6] There was lramma, there will be no lramma result.

Let us try to see how this is with regard to the different kinds of kamma that we have discussed: presently-effective kamma, subsequently-effective kamma, indefinitely-effective kamma, and lapsed kamma.

PAST KAMMA, PAST RESULT

The first working of past kamma has a past result. How? In all one’s past lives, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome presently-effective kammas were accomplished: they were the volitions of the first impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that met the right conditions produced their result in that same life.

For example, the pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral resultant feelings that arose in connection with a certain kamma in a past life may have been the result of a presently-effective kamma: for example, the feelings that arose in connection with an offering(dala) in that same past life, or with training in morality(S/7a) or meditation(bhavana). Another example is the arising of one of the three lower Path Consciousnesses(Magga’CXta) in a past life: its result arose in the next mind moment as the Fruition Consciousness(A’7aIa·CXta).

Also, in all one’s past lives, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome subse­quently-effective kammas were accomplished: they were the volitions of the sev­enth impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that met the right conditions produced their result in the subsequent life: the very next life. But again, if in a past life, one such volition produced the subsequent life’s rebirth-linking consci­ousness and mentality-materiality, the remaining volitions of that kamma’s sev­enth impulsions either lapsed, or supported those aggregates throughout the subsequent life: prolonging one’s life and sufferings in a woeful state, or happi­ness in the human or heavenly world.

Furthermore, in all one’s past lives, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome indefinitely-effective kammas were accomplished: they were the volitions of the middle five impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that met the right condi­tions produced their results in a certain past life after the subsequent past life.

In these cases, the kamma is past, and fulfilled its function; its result is also past, and fulfilled its function. The kamma came to be and ceased to be in the past; its result came to be and ceased to be in the past. As it says in the Papsam­bhida·Magga. There was lramma, there was lramma result.

450 Pa(isambhida-Magga: a text by the Venerable Siiriputta, whid1 explains in great and purely practical detail how understanding is produced by undertaking the training laid down by The Buddha.

451 PsM.I.vii.234~mma’Aatha'(‘DisaJssion of Kamma’) PD.I.vii.1

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PAST KAMMA, NO PAST RESULT

The second working of past kamma has no past result. That is, at the end of each past life, all the presently-effective and subsequently-effective kammas that failed to meet the right conditions to produce their result became lapsed kamma.

For example, with rebirth in the human or heavenly world in a past life, all sub­sequently-effective kammas from the previous life that could have produced their result in a woeful state failed to meet the right conditions to produce their result, and became lapsed kamma at the end of that life. With the attainment of the Stream-Entry Path, or Once-Return Path in the past, however, all subsequently, and indefinitely-effective kammas that were accomplished before that attainment, and which afterwards could have produced their result in a woeful state became lapsed kamma at once. Also, with rebirth in the fine-material or immaterial world in a past life, all subsequently-effective kammas from the previous life that could have produced their result in the sensual world, became lapsed kamma at the end of that life. And with attainment of the Non-Return Path in the past, all sub­sequently and indefinitely-effective kammas that afterwards could have produced their result in the sensual world became lapsed kamma at once.

In these cases, the kamma was in the past, and fulfilled its function; its result lapsed, and did not fulfil its function. The kamma came to be and ceased to be in the past; its result never came to be. As it says in the Pa(isambhida-Magga: There was kamma, there was no kamma result.

PAST KAMMA, PRESENT RESULT

The third working of past kamma has a present result: in this life. That is, in the previous life, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome subsequently-eff­ective kammas were accomplished: they were the volitions of the seventh impul­sions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions produce their result in the present life: this life.

Also, in all one’s past lives, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome inde­finitely-effective kammas were accomplished: they were the volitions of the mid­dle five impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions produce their results in this life.

In these cases, the kamma is past, and fulfilled its function; its result is present, and fulfils its function. The kamma came to be and ceased to be in the past; its result comes to be and ceases to be in the present. As it says in the Pa(isambhi­c/a·Magga: There was kamma, there is kamma result.

PAST KAMMA, No PRESENT RESULT

The fourth working of past kamma has no present result. That is, at the end of this life, all the subsequently-effective kammas from the previous life that fail to meet the right conditions to produce their result in this life become lapsed kamma.452

452 The Most Venerable Sayadaw refers to two dear examples. The first example, is the Venerable Devadatta: he was reborn in hell because of making a schism in the Sangha: that is the weighiest of the five unwholesome weighty kammas. And since weighty kam­mas are subsequently4ective, his unwholesome weighty kamma of drawing the blood of (bruising) a living Buddha with evil intent, as well as his wholesome kamma of jhana, and other subsequently4ective unwholesome and wholesome kamma, lapsed in their capac-

(fIt- •••• (wd/u1< — pag<.)

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For example, with rebirth in the human or a heavenly world in this life, all sub­sequently-effective kammas from the previous life that could have produced their result in a woeful state fail to meet the right conditions to produce their result, and become lapsed kamma at the end of this life. With the attainment of the Stream-Entry- or Once-Return Path in the previous life, however, all subsequently­effective kammas that could have produced their result in a woeful state in this life became lapsed kamma at once. Also, with rebirth in the fine-material or im­material world in this life, all subsequently-effective kammas from the previous life that could have produced their result in the sensual world in this life become lapsed kamma at the end of this life. And with attainment of the Non-Return Path in the previous life, all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kammas that could have produced their result in the sensual world in this life became lapsed kamma at once.

In these cases, the kamma was in the past, and fulfilled its function; its result has lapsed, and has not fulfilled its function. The kamma came to be and ceased to be in the past; its result has never come to be. As it says in the Pa(isambhida­·Magga. 1bere was kamma, there is no kamma result.

PAST KAMMA, FUTURE RESULT

The fifth working of past kamma has a future result. That is, in all one’s past lives, unwholesome and wholesome indefinitely-effective kamma was accom­plished. That which meets the right conditions will produce its result in the sub­sequent life, or a later life. The kamma is past, and fulfilled its function; its result is in the future, yet to be experienced, yet to fulfil its function. The kamma came to be and ceased to be in a certain past life; its result will come to be and cease to be in the future. As it says in the Pa(isambhida·Magga. 1bere was kamma, there will be kamma result.

PAST KAMMA, No FUTURE RESULT

The sixth working of past kamma has no future result. That is, with the attain­ment of the Stream-Entry Path, or the Once-Return Path in a past life or this life, all indefinitely-effective kammas that in the future could have produced their re­sult in a woeful state became lapsed kamma. With the attainment of the Non­Return Path in a past life or this life, all indefinitely-effective kammas that in the future could have produced their result in the sensual world became lapsed

ity to give rebirth. If, however, they meet the right conditions, they will function as subse­quently-€ffective reinforcing, frustrating, and interceptive kamma in his subsequent life in hell. If they do not meet the right conditions, they lapse at the end of that subsequent life. But the indefinitely-€ffecljve potency of those kammas (and any other unwholesome and wholesome kammas of the infinite past) may still function as productive, reinfordng, frus­trating, and interceptive kamma until he attains Parinibbana as a Paccekabuddha, at the end of a hundred thousand aeons: see further ‘The Venerable Devadatta’, p.150. The sec­ond example is Brahma Sahampati: he specialized in the first jhana, and one sudl first jhana gave him rebirth in the Brahma world: all the remaining jhanas, induding other first jhanas, lapsed in their capadty to give rebirth in the Brahma world. But they did not lapse in their capadty as param;’ Also other jhana kammas of the past, as well as sensual-sphere wholesome kammas of, for example, offering, morality, and samatha [before jhana] and vipassana practice, accomplished in that life and in previous lives, may function as parami, reinfordng other wholesome kammas, and frustrating and intercepting unwholesome kammas: see further ‘Brahma Sahampati’, p.175, and ‘Non-Return’, p.333).

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kamma. And with the attainment of the Arahant Path in this life, there will be no future life after this: at one’s Parinibbana, at the end of this life, absolutely all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kammas will lapse.

In these cases, the kamma is past, and fulfilled its function; its result has lap­sed, and will not fulfil its function. The kamma came to be and ceased to be in a certain past life; its result will never come to be. As it says in the Papsambhida­’Magga: 1bere was kamma, there will be no lramma result.

THE FoUR WORKINGS OF PREsENT KAMMA

The Pa(isambhida·Magga describes also the four workings of present kamma

(paa:uppanna.kamma) :453

[1] 1bere is kamma, there is kamma result.

[2] 1bere is kamma, there is no kamma result.

[3] 1bere is kamma, there will be kamma result. [4] 1bere is kamma, there will be no lramma result.

Let us try to see how this is with regard to presently-effective-, subsequently­effective-, and indefinitely-effective kamma.

PRESENT KAMMA, PRESENT RESULT

The first working of present kamma has a present result: in this life. That is, in this life, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome presently-effective kammas are accomplished: they are the volitions of the first impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions produce their result in this life.

For example, the pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral resultant feelings that arise before, during, and after a certain kamma in this life may be the result of present­ly-effective kamma: again for example, the feelings arising in connection with an offering (cmna) in this life, or with training in morality(s7a) or meditation (bhavana). Another example is the arising of a Path Consciousness{M~·Otta) in this life: the result arises in the next mind moment as the Fruition Consciousness(A’laIa·Citta).

In these cases, the kamma is present, and fulfils its function; its result is also present, and fulfils its function. Both come to be and cease to be in this life. As it says in the Papsambhida·Magga: There is lramma, there is lramma result.

PRESENT KAMMA, No PRESENT RESULT

The second working of present kamma has no present result. At the end of this life, all the presently-effective kammas that fail to meet the right conditions to produce their result in this life become lapsed kamma.454

Now, the kamma is present, and has fulfilled its function; its result has lapsed, and has not fulfilled its function. The kamma has come to be and ceased to be in this life; its result has never come to be. As it says in the Papsambhida·Magga:

There is lramma, there is no lramma result.

PRESENT KAMMA, FUTURE RESULT

The third working of present kamma has a future result. That is, in this life, un­countable unwholesome and wholesome subsequently-effective kammas are ac­complished: they are the volitions of the seventh impulsions of each kamma.

453 PsM.I.vii.234~mma’Aatha'(‘DiSQJssion of Kamma’) PD.I.vii.1 454 For two dear examples, see footnote 452, p.162.

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Those kammas that meet the right conditions will produce their results in the subsequent life: the very next life.

Also, in this life, uncountable unwholesome and wholesome indefinitely-effect­ive kammas are accomplished: they are the volitions of the middle five impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions will produce their results in a certain future life after the subsequent life.

In these cases, the kamma is present, and fulfils its function; its result is in the future, yet to be experienced, yet to fulfil its function. The kamma comes to be and ceases in this life; its result will come to be and cease to be in the future. As it says in the Pa(isambhida·Magga. 1bere is lramma, there will be lramma result.

PRESENT KAMMA, No FUTURE RESULT

The fourth working of present kamma has no future result. That is, at the end of the subsequent life, all the subsequently-effective kammas from this life that fail to meet the right conditions to produce their result in the subsequent life be­come lapsed kamma.

For example, with rebirth in the human or a heavenly world in the subsequent life, all subsequently-effective kammas from this life that could have produced their result in a woeful state in the subsequent life, will become lapsed kamma at the end of the subsequent life. With the attainment of the Stream-Entry- or Once­Return Path in this life, however, all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kam­mas that could have produced their result in a woeful state in the subsequent life have become lapsed kamma at once. Also, with rebirth in the fine-material or immaterial world in the subsequent life, all subsequently-effective kammas from this life that could have produced their result in the sensual world in the subse­quent life will have become lapsed kamma at the end of that life. With the attain­ment of the Non-Return Path in this life, all subsequently and indefinitely-effect­ive kammas that could have produced their result in the sensual world in the subsequent life become lapsed kamma at once. Finally, with the attainment of the Arahant Path in this life, there will be no future life: at one’s Parinibbiina, at the end of this life, absolutely all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kammas will lapse.

In these cases, the kamma is present, and fulfils its function; its result will lapse, and will not fulfil its function. The kamma comes to be and ceases to be in this life; its result will never come to be. As it says in the Pa(isambhida-Magga: There is lramma, there will be no kamma result.

THE Two WORKINGS OF FUTURE KAMMA

The Pa(isambhida·Magga describes also the two workings of future

kamma(an8gata’kamma) :455

[1] There will be lramma, there will be no kamma result. [2] There will be lramma, there will be lramma result.

Let us try to see how this is with regard to presently-effective-, subsequently­effective-, and indefinitely-effective kamma. Again, we shall discuss them only in the case of someone who is still alive: a common person, a Noble One, or an Arahant who has not yet attained Parinibbiina.

455 PsM.I.vii.234~mma’Aatha'(‘DisaJssion of Kamma’) PD.I.vii.1

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FUTURE KAMMA, FUTURE RESULT

The first working of future kamma has a future result. That is, unless one attains Arahantship, one will, in all one’s future lives, accomplish uncountable unwhole­some and wholesome presently-effective kammas: they will be the volitions of the first impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions will produce their result in that same life.

For example, the pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral resultant feelings that arise in connection with a certain kamma in a future life may be the result of a present­ly-effective kamma: again, for example, the feelings arising in connection with an offering (cmna) in a future life, or with training in morality(S/7a) or meditation{7>hava­178). Another example is the arising of a Path Consdousness (Magga.OI:JD) in a future life: its result will arise in the next mind moment as the Fruition Consciousness (Pha1a·OI:JD).

Also, unless one attains Arahantship, one will, in all one’s future lives, accomplish uncountable unwholesome and wholesome subsequently-effective kamma: they will be the volitions of the seventh impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions will produce their result in the subsequent life: the very next life.

Furthermore, unless one attains Arahantship, one will, in all one’s future lives, accomplish unwholesome and wholesome indefinitely-effective kamma: they will be the volitions of the middle five impulsions of each kamma. Those kammas that meet the right conditions will produce their results in a certain future life after the subsequent future life.

In these cases, the kamma will be in the future, and will fulfil its function; its result will be in the future, yet to be experienced, yet to fulfil its function. The kamma will come to be and cease to be in the future; its result will come to be and cease to be in the future. As it says in the Pa(isambhida·Magga: 1bere will be lramma, there will be lramma result.

FUTURE KAMMA, No FUTURE RESULT

The second working of future kamma has no future result. That is, at the end of each future life, all the presently-effective kammas that in that life fail to meet the right conditions to produce their result will become lapsed kamma. In the same way, at the end of each future life, all the subsequently-effective kammas from the previous future life that fail to meet the right conditions to produce their result will become lapsed kamma.

For example, with rebirth in the human or heavenly world in a future life, all subsequently-effective kammas from the previous future life that could have pro­duced their result in a woeful state will become lapsed kamma at the end of that future life. With the attainment of the Stream-Entry Path, or Once-Return Path in a future life, however, all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kammas that could have produced their result in a woeful state in that future life will become lapsed kamma at once. Ukewise, with the attainment of the Non-Return Path in a future life, all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kammas that could have pro­duced their result in the sensual world in the future, will become lapsed kamma. Rnally, with the attainment of the Arahant Path in the future, there will be no more future: at one’s Parinibbana, at the end of that future life, absolutely all subsequently and indefinitely-effective kammas will lapse.

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In these cases, the kamma will be in the future, and will fulfil its function; its result will lapse, and will not fulfil its function. The kamma will come to be and cease to be in the future; its result will never come to be. As it says in the Pafi­sambhida·Magga: There will be kamma, there will be no kamma result.

That condudes our discussion of the workings of kamma, past, present, and fu­ture kamma. We have also given some examples of how it works: no doubt, one could think of more examples.

CoNCWSION

As we discuss kamma further, please keep this principle in mind: that unwhole­some and wholesome kamma was accomplished in the past, is accomplished in the present, and (so long as we are not Arahants) will be accomplished in the future. Certain past unwholesome or wholesome kamma produced its unwhole­some or wholesome result in the past; certain past and present unwholesome or wholesome kamma produces its unwholesome or wholesome result in the pre­sent; and certain past, present, and future unwholesome or wholesome kamma will produce its unwholesome or wholesome result in the future. Lastly, in the past, certain unwholesome or wholesome kamma lapsed, in the present certain unwholesome or wholesome kamma lapses, and in the future, certain unwhole­some or wholesome kamma will lapse. 456 It is the same with blameful kamma (s·iivajjath kammath) and blameless kamma(anavajjath kammath); dark kamma(ka!7hafh kammath) and bright kamma(sukkath kammath), happiness-producing kamma(sukh­·utfrayath kammath) and pain-producing kamma(cWkkh·utfrayath kammath), happiness­resulting kamma(sukha·vipiikath kammath) and pain-resulting kamma(dukkha·vi¢kath kammath). Please remember, these workings of kamma work for everybody. Only the Arahant is exempt from accomplishing kamma. But until her or his Parinib­llana, even the Arahant is not exempt from experiencing happiness and pain be­cause of past kamma. Even if he is a Buddha, this will take place.457

That condudes our explanation of the first four categories of kamma: pres­ently-effective-, subsequently-effective-, indefinitely-effective-, and lapsed kamma.

456 PsM.I.vii.235 ~mma’Aatha'(‘DisaJssion of Kamma’) PD.I.vii.2-3 457 For details, see ‘The Two Types of Parinibbana’, p.339.


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